Young stars take to Superfest stage Saturday

Cowboy boots by the thousands stepped into LSU’s Tiger Stadium again Saturday for day two of Bayou Country Superfest.

Country music, flavored by rock, pop and hip-hop, was the big attraction at Superfest, the event that’s made Baton Rouge a national and international destination every Memorial Day weekend.

Following Friday’s blockbuster opening night with veteran country stars George Strait and Reba McEntire, popular younger acts, including Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, filled Saturday’s five-act lineup.

Florida Georgia Line, featuring Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, wasn’t the night’s headlining act, but the crowded responded to the duo as if it was.

“So y’all think 55,000 people can sing their asses off tonight?” Hubbard asked before he and Kelley sang “This Is How We Roll.”

Sing they did, especially after Bryan, the night’s headliner, joined Florida Georgia Line on stage during “This Is How We Roll.” The audience stood up en masse, singing and waving arms in the air.

A review of Bryan’s Superfest show will appear in a later edition of The Advocate.

On Memorial Day weekend, two huge American flags hung on each side of the Superfest stage. Florida Georgia Line dedicated “Round Here” to both troops serving overseas and the hardworking people of Louisiana. Needless to say the song went over big, which can be said for everything the duo did.

Earlier in the day, South Carolina native Lee Brice sang lyrics that celebrated beer and the working class, love and, on Memorial Day weekend, emotional odes to those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice.

Brice’s personal style — a mix of Hank Williams Jr. sunglasses and beard with a backward baseball cap and black attire from head to foot — reflects his musical influences. Employing electric guitars and powerful drums, Brice and his band included hard country-rock and some hip-hop-influenced material during their very well-received Superfest show.

“Hard to Love” echoed the classic rock of Bon Jovi and Journey. Working-class anthem “Beer” followed the Williams tradition. Shifting gears, the burly Brice turned remarkably tender for ballads “A Woman Like You” and “I Don’t Dance.” He expressed emotion again during a ballad in classic-rock mode, “Love Like Crazy.” He’s a dynamic performer.

Easton Corbin

Easton Corbin, Saturday’s engaging second act on the Superfest stage, introduced “Be My Love Song” as one of his new songs.

Putting his guitar down, he grabbed a microphone and strode all over the cross-shaped catwalk on the stadium floor.

“Be My Love Song” is a nice, happy song, all right, but Florida native Corbin’s Southern accent was the most country thing about it.

As poppy as “Be My Love Song” is, Corbin has his country credentials. He got into country music as a kid and even spent a lot of time on his granddaddy’s cattle farm.

“I came to Baton Rouge to sing country music,” Corbin said before he performed his first No. 1 hit, “A Little More Country Than That.”

There’s was plenty of country in “More Country Than That,” in the fiddle- and steel guitar-touched “That’ll Make You Wanna Drink” and other Corbin selections.

Gloriana

Gloriana opened Saturday’s music at Superfest with a quick 30-minute set of seven songs, including the trio’s biggest hit, a sweet love song called “(Kiss You) Good Night.”

Gloriana’s own material is so good that it really didn’t need to play its rendition of John Mellencamp’s heartland rocker, “Jack and Diane.”

The trio features singer Rachel Reinert and singing, guitar-playing brothers Tom and Mike Gossin. All three members of the group sing lead vocals and harmonize for trio’s catchy, melodic songs.

As convincing as Gloriana is as a contemporary country group, it wasn’t difficult to hear the trio’s classic-rock roots. Opening song “Trouble,” featuring Reinert in the lead, revealed the group’s debt to another vocal ensemble, Fleetwood Mac. And in “Can’t Shake You,” a line from Louisiana rock band Better Than Ezra’s biggest hit, “Good,” got quoted.

Superfest concludes Sunday with headliner Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Breaux Bridge native Hunter Hayes and more.